In the entries leading up to this one, I have explained that my approach to life with YHVH and the study of His Word have taken a direction I was not previously expecting, and which, to be honest, I was not specifically seeking. I mean, I was seeking to draw closer to Him, and the path of Hebrew Roots is where I believe he led me. As I proceed to recount my experiences on this journey and the personal developments that have accompanied it, I will be trying to shed light on things in the same order in which I encountered them.
One thing I should probably address sooner than later is terminology. Already in previous entries I have been using terms with which some of you may not be familiar or comfortable. Therefore, this entry will be devoted to a kind of annotated glossary of terms. So… I will just dive right in.
YHVH – this is my preferred way of expressing the memorial NAME of our Almighty Father, Creator, King of the Universe. All-caps to denote respect. Just the four letters to reflect the Hebrew yod-hay-vav-hay, without any attempt at a specific pronunciation. This topic will probably be a blog entry of its own since there is much to say about how this is handled by various groups, what does Scripture say about it, how have the Bible translators treated it, etc.
Yeshua – the Hebrew name of Jesus. There is also debate about how this is to be spelled and pronounced; and some groups are adamantly opposed to using the westernized name. Again, a lot can be said about this topic, too.
ha’Mashiach – The Messiah. I will use this in preference over Christ. “Christ” carries the general meaning of something having oil rubbed on it, hence “anointed”; but the meaning of Mashiach is much more expressive, descriptive, and meaningful.
Torah – this is specifically the five Books of Moses; i.e., the first five books of the Bible. However, the term is often used to refer to “The Law.” Purists will not appreciate it, but I confess I often use this term to refer to the whole of the Word of YHVH; and I consider Yeshua to be the Living Torah, as depicted in the first chapter of the gospel according to Yochanan (John).
TANAKH – this refers to the entire first part of the Bible, or what is commonly called “The Old Testament.” It is a Hebrew acronym for Torah, Nevi’im (Prophets), Ketuvim (Writings). I am not yet so much in the habit of using this term, but I do occasionally.
Names – I will not present here an exhaustive list of Hebrew names, but I will usually try to use the Hebrew instead of the westernized version. For example, above I used Yochanan for John. I will use Ya’acov for Jacob; and, by the way, Yeshua’s brother “James” was really named Ya’acov, but King James wanted his name to be in the Bible, so… The book of James is rightly called Ya’acov. For Isaiah, Yeshayahu. For Peter, Kefa. For Matthew, Mattityahu. And so on. When names come up, I will put the westernized version in parentheses after. This goes for place names, too; e.g., for Jerusalem, Yerushalayim.
Mitzvot – instructions, precepts, commandments. Actually, this is plural for mitzvah, which is commonly used to describe any good deed.
Qahal – assembly, congregation. I will tend to use this word to describe a gathering of believers. Kehila is a closely related word that can be used interchangeably with qahal. These terms have the same essential meaning as the Greek ‘ecclesia.’
Mishpacha – Family. Often used to describe a qahal because of the closeness of the fellowship.
Moedim – Appointed times; seasons. This term refers to the seven commanded Feasts of the LORD, laid out in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23. There will definitely be an entry about these feasts; probably one in general, then one specifically for each of the seven. These are hugely important days.
Shabbat – also called Sabbath, this is the seventh day of the week, which the fourth of the Ten Commandments bids us to “remember” and to “keep holy.”
Rosh Chodesh – literally, “head of the month,” this is the time when the moon reaches its full wane; just before it begins to wax (grow) again. Scripture tells us to observe this day each month with feasting and shofar blowing (B’midbar [Numbers] 10:10).
I know I have overlooked some terms in this entry, but this is enough to get the ball rolling. We use Hebrew a lot in singing and praying. I believe Hebrew truly is “YHVH’s language”; and that is yet another separate topic for a blog entry!